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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Dec 5, 2007 9:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Equal Time: Another Musician's Take on Religion

The following are ideas picked up from a dialogue with the Dalai Lama by Daniel Goleman.
"What are destructive emotions?" "Destructive emotions are those emotions that are harmful to oneself or others."
Is it possible to be completely and irreversibly free of any or all of the destructive emotions? These questions are equally pertinent to the Western and the Buddhist traditions We have raised these questions as far back as our ancient heritage: the Bible, Plato, Aristotle. In Buddhism they have always been a central concern.
It is pretty well accepted scientifically that human emotions are universal, which speaks to a philosophical question about human nature. Are humans inherently loving and compassionate or inherently selfish or do they operate on a spectrum that includes both?

What are humans really like deep down inside? The three main answers that we see again and again in the West 1. Rational egoists 2. Selfish and compassionate. 3. Compassionate and selfish

1. Each person watches out only for his or her own good, but sees rationally that only by being nice to others is it possible to get what he or she wants. In economics as well as in philosophy many people think that things work smoothly only because each of us is smart enough to see that our own good depends on treating others well.
2. Its quite clear that whether you put selfishness before or after compassion. it's necessary for survival. ie human infants.
Those who believe that people are selfish first, think that once we have taken care of our own basic needs, then there is time left over to be loving and compassionate of others.
3. The people who take the third position say that we're basically compassionate, loving creatures, but if there is scarcity of resources such as food, clothing and shelter, then compassion will drop out and our selfish side will emerge.

In Buddhism, the usual term for compassion includes both self and others. When you speak of compassion, it can apply to oneself as well as others, unlike Western culture.

We have a view in the West that you can love others only if you love yourself - that if you have low self-esteem, self-hatred, or lack of self respect, then you are no position to love other people. So many people in the West nowadays have very low self-esteem - even self-contempt.

In the Buddhist view, caring for oneself and others is fundamental to human existence and that compassion is more than simply feeling for another - empathy - but a concerned, heartfelt caring, wanting to do something to relieve the person's suffering.

I haven't really thought out the difference between Jerry's and Hunter's philosophies. I haven't really thought about what their philosophies might be and I wasn't thinking of faith or belief. The reason I made that statement was just a thought that songs like Wharf Rat and China Doll reflected the Buddhist philosophy of compassion for oneself and others, while Jerry tended towards songs in the Christian tradition like My Brothers and Sisters and The Maker. I know, pretty tenuous.

Finally, before I bore you to death; an explanation of the mystic agnostic thing. Mystic, because I think it is possible to 'awaken our mystical faculties and develop spiritual awareness. We can realize the relationship between our individual life and the Infinite Consciousness which gives and sustains all life.'
Mystics come from all walks of life, from all nations, races, religious and philosophical perspectives. A mystic may be a business professional, a child, a homemaker, a clergyman, a manual laborer, a devout member of any of the world’s faiths, an agnostic, an artist, an invalid.
A mystic is any person who realizes, and is fortunate to maintain, a conscious connection with the Infinite Consciousness — the Infinite Spirit — or any of Its attributes, such as Love, Wisdom, Power, Goodness, Transformation, Wholeness, or Creativity, to name the main ones.' At least, thats what I'd like to aspire to.

The agnostic thing because, like R.A.W., 'I find the universe so staggering that I just don't have any faith in my ability to grasp it. I don't think the human stomach can eat everything, and I'm not quite sure my mind can understand everything, so I don't pretend that it can.'

p.s. Ashes, I just thought there was a difference between simple minded and simple-minded.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Dec 6, 2007 5:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the unbelieving atheist chimes in

If it’s ok I’d like to chip in here with my unbelieving atheist’s perspective.

Some people are without doubt more creative that others – that’s only to be expected as a natural genetic variation within the population. But creativity is no good without practice. Jerry Garcia was a creative musician but he was also absolutely dedicated to practising, learning chords and scales until he could play them backwards, forwards and inside out. Familiarity with the form gave him the freedom to express any musical idea that entered his head. Without the long hours of practise the creativity would have had no outlet. Expertise comes with effort.

The idea that midnight sun expresses of not being ‘consciously in control’ doesn’t mean that the musician is being guided by some ‘infinite consciousness’ or any other outside force. What it means is that long hours of practise have ingrained the finger positions and movements the musician needs to make in order to produce the sounds desired into muscle memory so he/she can do it without thinking about it. It’s like learning to ride a bike – once you’ve mastered it you just ride with no thought to the action involved at all.

If I’m going to slot myself into one of your categories, Jerrob (and I just hate to do that) then I guess it would be that of the rational egoist. Civilization didn’t come about through compassion or being nice to each other but from the realization that belonging to a tribe whose members worked together gave you more chance of survival than trying to make it on your own. Without settled agricultural communities providing the basic needs of food and shelter there would have been no time to learn and practise new skills and no civilization.

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Poster: Telephone Toughguy Date: Dec 6, 2007 12:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the unbelieving atheist chimes in

Thank you.

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Poster: AshesRising Date: Dec 5, 2007 3:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Equal Time: Another Musician's Take on Religion

Jerrob Hungar: Thank you for these substantive, thought-provoking posts. Tremendous. I just hope you realize I wasn't take a stab at you by commenting on your "simple minded mystic agnostic" description of your self....did you(?) If so, I regret it...

--- AshesRising

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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Dec 6, 2007 2:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Equal Time: Another Musician's Take on Religion

Ashes, not at all. Thank you for your post and the video of Jerry at the Shoreline. I am just happy to be able to contribute something back to the forum. This is an oasis for me, a source of warmth, light, sustenance and inspiration, not least from your good self. I began taking part here about a year ago and I am so glad I did. I have received much more than I could possibly return and I feel privileged to be part of this community. I urge anyone out there who may be struggling in darkness to climb on board. There are a lot of very fine people here.
And no I didn't think you were having a dig and anyway, you're welcome to have a stab at me anytime! :¬)
Does this mean that instead of wishing you Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas, we should wish you Happy Hurricane or Merry Blizzard?
p.s. Have you seen this? I love the expression on Jerry's face.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Dec 6, 2007 3:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a small hijack

JH - have you had any thoughts yet regarding the Suwannee Other Ones show? Let me know if you want it and I'll get it done for you!

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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Dec 6, 2007 4:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: a small hijack

Hi Rob. Hope work is being kind to you on this dreech Thursday. Sorry I haven't got back to you yet. Senility's catching up. I've reached the stage where I carry around a notebook to jot down reminders. Then I forget the notebook.
I would be most grateful for the Suwannee Music Aud. From your description, it sounds irresistible.
If you've got some time (10:21), this is the Wharf Rat from the Closing of Winterland.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Dec 5, 2007 1:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: "Infinite Consciousness"?

JerryRobert: W-O-W!

i apologize in advance for my usual self-centered response...i'm not sure i can otherwise relate, so i will try to confine my commentary to "creativity"

when i learn to play a jazz standard, i play a simple four to the bar walking bass line on the fretless bass to allow myself some familiarity with the form...after a time "things" begin to evolve...melodically, rhythmically, harmonically...

where does this evolution comes from?
many artists agree on the following;

- much of it cannot be theoretically explained
- the more you try, the less it happens (left brain getting in the way of the right brain?)
- you do not feel as though you are consciously in control in the sense that you feel more like an observer, rather than a performer ("the music played the band")

- is "it" a connection to "Infinite Consciousness"?
- is it possible to know for sure?
- will it make a difference to know?

no answers, only more questions from this agnostic mystic

many thanks for sharing your thought provoking words

much to think about while i get back to watching myself smear drywall mud in the unfinished basement...

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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Dec 6, 2007 4:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Infinite Consciousness'?

Hi Midnight Sun, Nice to see you again. Please don't apologise, your presence is always very welcome. I enjoyed reading your post because I feel you got what I was trying to put across. We all seek our own answers in our own way.
I read your post the other day about spending so much time in the forum and I could relate to everything you said. I learned to involve my family in the forum by telling them about the kind and generous people here. They know how much joy I get from the Dead and now they ask me how things are going with folks here as though you are distant members of our family.
Anyway, what are you listening to as you do that drywalling?

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Dec 6, 2007 3:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 'Infinite Consciousness'?

hey jerrob:

your original post is monumental to say the least...still much to think about...thanks for your kind reply and sharing your thoughts

my wife (fine arts grad - water colour) and i have been discussing the parallels between music and art for the last 20 years...some of those conversations contain ideas discussed on this forum

the creative process is remarkably similar for both disciplines, as i suspect it is for all artistic times it is difficult to "let go" of formal training...all too often the tendency is to cling to the learning process, forgetting the purpose...The Doors lyric, "learn to forget" always comes to mind

where does it all come from?
- i don't know

what i can say is, there is nothing quite like the experience of finally getting past the struggle and arriving at "the flow" (Jerry's term)...almost always the struggle is compounded from trying to do too much

what am i listening to? more often than not, the stuff i hear in my mind...sometimes variations on the music i have been working on, sometimes Dead, sometimes other than Dead and variations thereof...sometimes music is front and center, sometimes a background to the thoughts i ponder...i've noticed that work from the neck down (drywall taping certainly fits that category for me) seems to free up the rest of my energy...and drift off...into form...jam...

hows about you?

This post was modified by midnight sun on 2007-12-06 23:15:31